Deportation of Partner In Same-Sex Couple Halted

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP)— A Venezuelan salsa dancer who legally married an American man in a same-sex ceremony last year has had his deportation placed on hold.

The decision comes one day after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a similar case put on hold.

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Henry Velandia says he should be allowed to remain in the U.S. as the spouse of a U.S. citizen Josh Vandiver. Velandia faces deportation to his native Venezuela.

Judge Alberto Riefkohl granted an adjournment of the case Friday in a Newark immigration court.

img 2990 Deportation of Partner In Same Sex Couple Halted

Josh Vandiver proudly holds his Connecticut marriage license. (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

Velandia, 27, a professional salsa dancer and 29-year-old Vandiver, a graduate student at Princeton University, were married last year in Connecticut, where same-sex marriage is legal.

The love and affection between Velandia and Vandiver is quite clear.

“Meeting Josh, it was like the turning point of my life where in 2006 when I met him — Nov. 12 exactly, I remember — I fell in love with this guy,” Velandia told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.

Velandia’s visitor visa expired and he was unable to obtain a green card or permanent resident status through an employer. Because the federal government doesn’t recognize the couple’s marriage, Vandiver cannot sponsor Velandia as a heterosexual person could sponsor a spouse.

“The non-gay couple gets married, a man and a woman, in very short order their spouse is well on their way to becoming a permanent resident and a citizen,” Vandiver said. “In our case, just because we’re gay my husband is being deported.”

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg Reports: The Couple Wants The Federal Government To Recognize Same-Sex Marriage

The couple says families are being ripped apart and they’re urging the Department of Homeland security to change their policies.

“We want to fight until the end. This is where Josh is from, he belongs here, and I belong with him,” Velandia said.

Separately on Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder set aside a Board of Immigration Appeals ruling allowing the deportation to Ireland of Paul Wilson Dorman, a gay man illegally in the U.S. who celebrated a civil union in New Jersey with his male partner.

The board had based its decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. But earlier this year, Holder said the government would no longer defend the marriage law in court, although the administration has continued to enforce it.

The government had briefly allowed applications for immigrant benefits for same-sex couples, then reversed course days later after a review of the laws.

Attorney Lavi Soloway, who is representing Velandia and is the founder of an advocacy group Immigration Equality, said he planned to ask the immigration judge for an adjournment Friday, in light of Holder’s decision on the other case.

“The attorney general’s decision yesterday is an extraordinary development, it’s historic, it’s the first time any attorney general has intervened in an immigration case involving a bi-national same-sex couple,” Soloway said. “The specific instruction he’s given indicates he’s interested in finding a possible solution so gay and lesbian partners of American citizens can be afforded the same rights.”

Should Velandia be allowed to stay? Leave a comment below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Stein50

    Don’t say no to love, it the one thing that there is just too little of.

  • venus shuzz


  • 0_o

    You do know back when this country was founded blacks had no rights to marry, and god forbid it if you wanted to marry someone of another race. I think we need to go back to where marrige used to be because to many people are not thankful for their right to marry.

  • Steven

    Sometimes the only threat to the human race is the human race itself. Embrace diversity and let people live happy on their own terms. What does their relationship have to do with anyone else? If people don’t accept gay marriage, then it’s simple; don’t marry someone of the same sex!

  • fern

    It looks to me that the action taken by Mr. Holder shows that DOMA’s days are counted and it is high time too.
    Sometimes I wonder about this country’s continuous claim of being the first but acting like they’re still in neanderthal times.
    Cavemen with cellphones, y’all on the Moon and on Mars but you don’t know how to acts as human beings.

  • None Of Your Business

    The solution to this matter is simple: the government should recognize same-sex civil marriages and get its ways of thinking beyond the Neanderthal era of human development. Anyone who doesn’t like same-sex marriages is perfectly free to move to another planet.

  • Big Nard

    Agree with you. They need to move out. The USA is too good and he is staying in this country illegally.

  • Michael H.

    Your dog can’t legally consent to anything, hence, no marriage.

  • Bonnie

    Oh really?

  • Bonnie

    Why should they be deported?

    • frank

      If Arizona cant make its own immigration rules why should Connecticut be allowed to?

  • Bonnie

    Yes, America would be better of with less of you degenerates…

  • Bonnie

    You should lead them in being kicked out you bigot.

  • HooDatIS?
  • svivar9087

    Welcome to the 21st century ! It’s high time we shed the BS and embrace what cannot be denied….Love.



    • wt

      It is not about equal rights- how far can you take it? Next thing we know it is OK to marry your pet. So if you marry your exotic animal brought into the country illegally, than it is OK, because we can continute to carve exceptions to every law. The fact is that the man is here illegally. How many illegals can we continue to harbor. Yes, we can say we will not deport you, but what about the next one and the next one and the next one…. This county is becoming a country of allowing anyone in. That is fine, as long as it is not on my tax dollar. Truth is that it is 99% tax dollars that have to support all these illegals. It is not about human rights (gay) it is about following the rules.

      • Michael H.

        You cannot marry your pet because your pet cannot legally consent to the marriage.

        Are you trolling or are you really that stupid?

        • Michael H.

          CBS when you remove a comment you should remove any replies to it as well. This just looks out of place now.

  • Sage

    Why don’t these far-leftists report so cheeringly about those Mormons fighting to not have their marriage rights infringed upon by government telling them the government will not legally sanction exclusively heterosexual unions?

  • Joseph Didonato

    Mike I can tell by the way you spell you are educated???? LOL
    What a loser you are. Education is expensive in this country and ignorance is even more expensive.

  • Deb

    …still payin alimony, huh?

  • M. Vick

    …as long as she puts the toilet seat down..

    • Bonnie

      Why would you marry your dog? You call us gays strange…

  • Pirv

    kaligula said “…as they try to blaze this tail!!!!”

    Pls see BILL above:

  • lexus lutther

    It is clearly understood that he should go through the correct procedure to get US citizenship rather than a same sex marrage , which is not acceptable with moast people who are of the opinion that this pratice is wrong .

  • Andrea

    U said it! ;-)

  • David in NYC

    Great idea! When will you be leaving?

  • AM

    Okay, they got married LEGALLY to get the same, key word here, same rights as straight marriges. Are you saying those who get legally joined in union have a catch 22 if it same sex; though legally they are married they are not applicable for the same rights as straights. The only rights as a legal married couple are taxes and name?

    Love this countries ideals on acceptance, equality, and anti-discrimination. Ah next in line for gay rights is gay men/woman only foutians and bathrooms so they do not “turn anyone gay”.

  • kaligula

    yes, he should!!!! i was in a similar situation a few years ago. it was heartbreaking that we had no option to live where we wanted to as other married couples do. this issue needs to be addressed… i wish them luck and courage as they try to blaze this trail!!!!

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